As a former research associate in the Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) virology department, I worked in conjunction with our chemistry department on HIV protease research. Most of the sorts of questions posed by the article by Robert Root- Bernstein in the April 4, 1994, issue of The Scientist [page 1] are not addressed by BMS or most pharmaceutical companies. Their focus tends to be exclusively drug discovery, meaning groups work on enzymes of HIV and either screen for or design inhibitors to test as potential drug candidates. Unfortunately, there is a lot of information gained in the testing that is usually not used, published, or shared. A potential protease inhibitor takes forever to gain any sort of publication, and promising leads are often dropped because they are too long-term or need too much study and modification.

A task force to consolidate this information would indeed be useful and, in my opinion,...

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